How To Start a Math Teacher Blog

[“Sophisticated Blogger” by Mike Licht,]

Blogging is more than just writing. It involves reading other people’s blogs and commenting, comparing thoughts about mathematics and ideas for teaching it, even getting involved in debates like the multiplication is or isn’t repeated addition kerfluffle. In a way, the blogging community acts like the Chinese “teaching research groups” mentioned in Liping Ma’s book, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics.

What a coincidence! I wrote that paragraph last week for Math Mama’s book, and then this weekend I opened my backlogged Bloglines to discover a series of posts from some of my favorite math bloggers offering excellent advice on how to start a blog.

If you are a classroom teacher, homeschooler, or independent math learner who would like to get into blogging, check out these posts. And if you’re an experienced hand, please add your favorite blogging tips in the Comments section below.

The Fairy Blogmother Gets Things Started

Whenever I get around to inducting new members into my Math Bloggers Hall of Fame, Kate at f(t) will surely be at the top of the list.

Just a few of her tips from Love, Your Fairy Blogmother:

  • Start reading. Set up Google Reader, subscribe to every blog you can find that’s like the one you want to start…
  • Tell a story. Give it a beginning, middle, and end. Include an illustrative anecdote…
  • Be generous. This community is a gift culture – sharing is how reputations are built and respect is earned. If you have worked hard on a successful lesson, it’s worth writing up. Share your presentation files, handouts, dynamic geometry sketches…

And don’t miss her follow-up post: Do Not Be Discouraged.

Sam Turns It into a Meme

Tips from Yet again, following f(t)’s lead:

  • Choose WordPress… The themes are sleeker (in my opinion), there are more control options, and most importantly, you can easily type equations (y=ax^2+bx+c).
  • Write like nobody’s watching… If you blog for yourself, it won’t be a chore… Make your blog less about being your blog and more about whatever you want to say, and let it grow organically into whatever it turns into.
  • Watch what you write… you are making this public. So the best rule of thumb: don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your kids, your administration, or a potential employer to see… I don’t write when I’m angry. I sometimes write when I’m disappointed — but mainly with myself.

Elissa Adds Her Insight

Advice from Gr8 Blogging: 5 Tips:

  • A clever name is important. But stressing about it is not. A good strategy is to try to think of your name or nickname or hobby in connection with what you are going to blog about…
  • Light backgrounds with dark letters. An all black background with red writing looks super edgy, we know, and yes we all agree, but hard to read. Which defeats the point.
  • Clutter free. Keep things simple and basic. Yes, you can have your blogroll, a picture or two, links, labels, etc. But keep things orderly and not too much. We want to read your writing, not be overwhelmed by billboardmania and flashing glitter graphics…

Other Bloggers Chime In

Why to stop worrying about your blogging numbers
My experience is just like Jason’s: my highest ever number of hits came from an absolutely nothing post, merely a link to a short-term online contest, that for some crazy reason is still drawing traffic. Meanwhile, some of my favorite posts languish in obscurity

Starting a math blog (notes from Kate and Sam and Jason and ???)
From one of my original Hall of Fame bloggers — Jonathan’s “half-math blog” is still one of my favorites.

Good Bloggers On Good Blogging
Dan offers encouragement for those who feel they “have nothing original to contribute.”

Developing Yourself Is Part Of Being A Teacher
Riley realizes, “Oh my god, I’ve actually pushed myself to try something new because of my blog! This is great!”

What Can I Add?

I’ve already posted most of my best tips at Blogging 2 Learn, the blog for my homeschool co-op class. I’m sure you can find something of interest, from Sidebar Widgets to Reader-Friendly Editing.

And if you are a math blogger, I recommend getting involved in the math carnivals!

Read and enjoy the current editions:

Pick some of your favorites posts and submit them to next month’s carnivals. (Please DON’T send the same post to more than one of them.) Here are the submission forms:

And finally, volunteer to host one of the carnivals. We’re always looking for new hosts, and it’s a great way to draw readers to your blog.

6 thoughts on “How To Start a Math Teacher Blog

  1. Thanks Denise. I am pruning my own blog carnival so that our blogs will not overlap. I will concentrate on technology integration, conceptual explanations of math concepts (just like my math posts) and software tutorials.

    I will forward to you submissions on middle school blogs (such as games, puzzles, teaching stuff, etc.), which is more on your domain.

    By the way, if you have any post that you want to submit, please do so. 🙂



  2. Thanks for the advice. My maths blog is just 2 weeks old, but here’s some advice I’d like to add!

    As well as commenting on other blogs, comment in forums. I regularly answer questions in parenting forums of the “How can I help my child with Maths” type of questions. This has brought me some good traffic AND I get to help as well!

  3. That’s excellent advice, Caroline!
    I hang out at a couple of homeschooling forums, to help answer questions. It is important to offer helpful advice, relevant to the questions asked, and not just sound like I’m trying to advertise my blog — but if I have the blog link in my forum signature, people who appreciate my comments will follow through to read what else I have to say.

  4. I really appreciate this post…and, even more, your blog. You make math so accessible and, well, INTERESTING! 🙂 Thank you and keep up the awesome posts! 🙂

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